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The Health-Related Components of Fitness: What Every Physical Education Teacher Needs to Know


The health-related components of fitness involve movement that improves a student’s physical health and ability to stay healthy. There are five health-related components of physical fitness: body composition, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, muscular strength, and muscular endurance. These components are important for students to be able to participate in a variety of activities, movements and sports.


The Health-Related Components of Fitness: What a Physical Education Teacher Needs to Know

In this blog post, I will explore the five health-related fitness components in detail. Included is a list of components, their definitions, and examples, to help students achieve greater overall fitness. I'll go through these concepts in more depth by using some of my PE Super Friends to help illustrate them. I will also discuss how the health-related components of fitness can be incorporated into a typical physical education class.

 

Definition and National PE Standard

There are many definitions of health-related components of fitness, but one that is widely accepted is by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)*. The ACSM defines health-related components of fitness as the components of physical fitness that contribute to the overall health and well-being of an individual.

The health-related components of physical fitness directly correspond with SHAPE America Standard 3, which states: The physically literate individual demonstrates the knowledge and skills to achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of physical activity and fitness.**


SHAPE America- Standard 3 Visual


What are the five main health-related components of fitness?


1. Cardiovascular Endurance, 2. Muscular Strength, 3. Muscular Endurance, 4. Flexibility, and 5. Body Composition.

Components of Fitness Poster

Each component has its own benefits for overall health and well-being. The PE Super Friends visuals highlighted below allow for a better understanding of each component concept.









Cardiovascular Endurance

Cardiovascular endurance is the ability of the heart and lungs to work together to supply oxygen to the muscles during sustained physical activity. This component improves overall cardiovascular health and helps prevent conditions such as heart disease and stroke.

Fitness Component- Cardiovascular Endurance

To improve your cardiovascular endurance, you want to perform activities that keep your heart rate elevated at a safe level for a continued length of time such as walking, swimming, rowing, or bicycling.


Muscular Strength

Muscular strength is the ability of a muscle or muscle group to exert "force" against resistance. Muscular strength is important for activities such as carrying groceries, walking up stairs, and playing sports. It also helps develop the major muscle groups, helps maintain bone density, and reduces the risk of fractures later in life.

Fitness Component- Muscular Strength

To improve your strength, try performing body weight exercises such as pushups, sit-ups, and pull-ups, or use resistance such as weights or bands as you lift the weight for a set number of reps.


Flexibility

Flexibility is the range of motion around a joint. They entail movements that stretch muscles and joints to help increase the range of motion. Flexibility improves movement and reduces the risk of injuries. It is important for activities such as stretching, running, and jumping.

Fitness Component- Flexibility

To improve your flexibility, try a variety of “Static” (slow, controlled & prolonged stretching) and “Dynamic” (controlled leg and arm swings) stretches that help make your muscles more “elastic” in nature.


Muscular Endurance

Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or muscle group to repeatedly exert force over time. They are movements that cause your body to resist fatigue while holding or repeating a muscular contraction. Muscular endurance is important for activities such as climbing stairs, cycling, and walking long distances. It also helps reduce the risk of injuries caused by sudden bursts of activity.

Fitness Component- Muscular Endurance

To improve your muscular endurance, try activities in which you use your muscles continuously such as climbing, rowing, biking, or dancing. Also, exercises such as curl-ups, squat jumps, and mountain climbers help too.


Body Composition

Body composition is the percentage of body weight that is made up of fat mass and fat-free mass. The relative percentage of body fat compared to lean body mass (muscle, bone, water, etc.). Healthy body composition is important for overall health and well-being. Too much fat can lead to health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

Fitness Component- Body Composition

To determine a person’s body composition, the following methods can be used: Height/Weight- Body Mass Index, Skinfold, Hydrostatic weighing, and Electrical impedance.

 

Incorporating the health-related fitness components into a PE class

When it comes to incorporating health-related fitness components into a PE class, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, it's important to focus on movements and activities that will improve the heart and lungs' ability to supply oxygen to the muscles (cardiovascular endurance), as well as those that will help build muscle strength, flexibility, and endurance.

Second, it's important to choose activities that are safe and appropriate for the age and skill level of your students. Modify any exercises, movements, games, and activities so that students will be successful and engaged.


Lastly, be sure to incorporate a variety of movement experiences to keep things interesting and to ensure that all students are engaged.

Health Visual

By incorporating these components into a PE class, students will be better able to improve their overall health and fitness.





 

Now that we’ve gone over the definition, individual components, and some movement examples for each component of fitness, let's look at some actual activities we can use in our PE classes:


1. Health-Related Fitness Circuits


Overview

Circuit training involves sequences of movements that you perform one after the other, with only a brief rest in between. A timer can be used (for example 30 seconds to 1 minute) to time the movement.


Set-Up

  • Create some health-related movement/exercise signs (with or without graphics). Print and laminate for future use

  • Place the movement/exercise cards in set areas around your learning area (spread them out)

  • Place students in small groups and have them start at one of the fitness circuit signs

Play

  • When the music starts playing or the teacher gives a start cue, students read their circuit sign and begin moving according

  • At each station, students read and do an exercise for 30 seconds to a minute

  • Students move to the next circuit card when the music changes or when the teacher gives a cue

  • The students continue from circuit sign to circuit sign for a specified time (i.e. 5 to 10 minutes)

Muscular Strength Circuit



2. Four Corner Fitness


Overview

Students move from one corner to the next while pausing for 20-30 seconds at each turn. To travel from one corner to the next, a different locator movement is used.


Set-Up

  • Create exercise and locomotor movement signs. Print and laminate for future use

  • Place locomotor and exercise signs on 8 cones around the perimeter line (2 in each corner- 1 for exercise, 1 for locomotor movement)

  • Place students in small groups at cones or poly spots facing the letters

Play

  • As students enter or after a teacher cue, they immediately begin the first locomotor movement to the first corner

  • Students read and do an exercise for 30 seconds at each corner

  • After performing the movement, the students then read the locomotor sign and perform it to the next corner

  • The students continue from corner to corner for a specified time (i.e. 5 to 10 minutes)




3. AMRAP (As Many Rounds as Possible)


Overview

For a set period of time, students aim to complete as many reps of teacher-selected health-related fitness exercises as possible.


Set-Up

  • First, write some fitness exercises such as jumping jacks, straight jumps, and wall-sits on a whiteboard or poster paper. Include rep counts on the cards

  • If using a poster board, laminate it

  • Place cones with AMRAP signs/posters attached on them in select places in your gym

Play

  • On a teacher signal, the students move to one of the AMPAP posters/signs and begin to go through the exercise/movement cycle

  • Students work at their own pace at the same activity and then move to the next AMRAP workout after completing an entire round at each poster/sign

  • For a teacher-determined, set length of time such as 10 to 12 minutes, the process continues


AMRAP Fitness Activity

4. TABATA


Overview

At a 20-second to 10-second movement-to-rest ratio, students will go through a series of health-related fitness movements.


Set-Up

  • First, write some fitness exercises such as air squats, high knees, and V-ups on a whiteboard, poster paper, or project on a screen

  • Laminate if using a poster board

  • You can also place cones with TABATA signs/posters attached to them in select places in your playing area

Play

  • As students enter the playing area, instruct them to find a workout poster or look up at the screen

  • The individual starts with a 20-second MOVE followed by a 10-second REST (6-8 exercises performed in time)

  • The students will use the 20-second/10-second work/rest ratio to continue with the exercise/rest sequence

  • A timer may be started by a teacher or student using an audio speaker or a TABATA app on a phone or tablet, both of which are either audible and visible on the screen

TABATA IN pe

 

In summary

Now that you know all about the health-related physical fitness components, it's time to put them into practice! Incorporating just a few of these activities in your PE class will help improve your students' overall health and fitness. As you can see, there are several fun and engaging ways to get your students moving and practicing their health-related fitness skills. Whether you choose to do a circuit, AMRAP, TABATA, or Four Corner Fitness workout, your students are sure to have a blast while getting in a good workout. Be sure to try out some (or all) of these ideas in your future physical education classes!


What other ways have you incorporated the health-related fitness components in your physical education classes...in high school, middle school, or elementary? What were the students' favorite activities? Let me know in the comments below!

*SHAPE America. (2013). National Standards for K-12 Physical Education. Reston, VA: Author

**American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)


Check back soon for a companion blog post that will look at the six skill-related components of fitness. Ideas for incorporating skill-related fitness in a PE class will be included.

 

Need resources?

Do you need some PE Component of Fitness Task Cards for your physical education program that includes detailed instructions and state-of-the-art graphics and visuals? If you do, Cap'n Pete's Power PE has you covered!


20 FREE Component of Fitness Task Cards

Fill in the form below to download 20 FREE Component of Fitness Task Cards. The set is a PDF digital download that includes two visuals (cards/signs) from the following sport stations sets: 1. Cardiovascular Endurance, 2. Flexibility, 3. Muscular Endurance, 4. Muscular Strength, 5. Agility, 6. Balance, 7. Coordination, 8. Power, 9. Reaction Time and 10. Speed.



They are simple to use and effective for learning PE fitness movements. Just print laminate, cut out and then place them in sections of your learning area for your students to use during physical education lessons.

 

If you're searching for a way to take your PE program to the next level, Cap'n Pete's PE Components of Fitness Task Card Series- 10 Set SUPER BUNDLE is the perfect resource for you! It is a combination of 10 of Cap’n Pete’s DYNAMIC, health-related and skill-related fitness-based task card sets for students to use in a variety of educational or community settings. You'll find over 240 engaging, self-guided fitness-based movement station signs/cards (24 stations per component) in this super bundle.


PE Components of Fitness 10-Set Super Bundle

You can download them from either of the following platforms: Cap'n Pete's Power PE Website or Teachers Pay Teachers- Cap'n Pete's TPT Store



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